Braulio Ramirez’s Picks of the Week

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1. Contemporary Writers Series: Joyce Carol Oates

“Who the hell is Joyce Carol Oates?” you ask. Only one of the world’s greatest contemporary writers who’s been nominated for the Nobel Prize three times and who also happens to teach at UC Berkeley. For her reading, head on over to Oakland’s Mills College. Oates will be waiting for you at the Bender Room inside Carnegie Hall at 5:30 p.m. this Tuesday. Maybe she’ll choose to read an excerpt from her latest novel “Mudwoman,” or maybe she’ll pull out a short story from “Black Dahlia & White Rose.” In any case, you’d be crazy not to go, especially all you aspiring writers out there. Oh, and one more thing: it’s free!

2. ‘From Here to Eternity’ at Berkeley’s United Artist 7

If I were to ask 10 people if they’ve seen a movie made before 1970, eight would answer, “No.” I made that statistic up, but those numbers seem reasonable to me given how much I mention old classic movies to friends and almost all of them shoot me a blank stare. If you’ve never seen a classic, this Valentine’s Day is your chance to right that wrong. Go see only one of the best love stories ever told, “From Here to Eternity” (1953). Although this movie was made before both my parents were even born, movies are supposed to be universal and timeless, and this one sure is.

3. Valentine’s Day with Disney

Still don’t know where to take your special someone? For $10, you can visit the Walt Disney Family Museum where you’ll go on a Valentine scavenger hunt, relish the Disney-themed gallery and drink its signature cocktail appropriately dubbed “Prince Charming.” And for once Disney’s going R-rated: no one under 18 is allowed.  

4. Lunar New Year Festival

Lion and dragon dances! Malaysian 24-season drum performance! Red Panda Acrobats! Martial Arts and Chinese yo-yo demonstrations! Need I say more? Experience all of it this Sunday at the Oakland Museum to celebrate the Year of the Snake.

Braulio Ramirez is the lead film critic. Contact Braulio at [email protected].